The Idea Dude


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wil Power

Yes, that's not typo. Wil Wheaton gave us some love today and brought our Carddit site down. That's what we call Wil Power.

Just before noon, my co-founder Sharleen sent Wil a Carddit deck that she made. It's an awesome deck. (She has many, you should check out her other decks. Sharleen's Decks).

Within minutes, our site went down, horribly. Attempts to bring it back was futile, the servers were dragged down like bloodied boxers in the final round of a losing match. Realizing we were running out of database connections, we took the servers completely offline except for a page just showing Wil's jazz hands. It was just the type of humor we needed in the office and for all the disappointed visitors to our site.

The problem wasn't that we weren't designed to be scalable. We had load balancers, multiple servers and redundant database service all hosted in a cloud. We already off-loaded all our assets to Amazon S3 a long time ago.

It was a question of finances. As a small company we could ill-afford to have a massively redundant architecture on standby. Frankly the popularity of Wil and the love his followers showed took us by surprise. But we were back up within the hour, with a much more powerful database server and 4 front-end web servers. Zero coding and a bit of reconfiguration. I'm particular proud of our team, Sharleen, Tony and John.

We pride ourselves as being an agile team. Today we showed it. Hopefully, more people will see our labour of love, Carddit. It really is the best way to collect the best of the web, and take it with you (today on your iPhone, iPod Touch), soon on your Android.

So tonight, for the first time many moneys, I've downed my dev. tools to reflect on this moment. It's a small but important validation of our work.

There is so much more to come.


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